The Chicago Bulls would save at least $2.6 million if they were to trade all-star wing Jimmy Butler before July, according a league insider.
Though the Bulls haven’t entertained any recent trade talks, executives John Paxson and Gar Forman let it be known in the team’s exit press conference that Butler wasn’t on “the untouchables list” and could be had with the right offer. “We’ve got to explore all options and I don’t think there’s anything that’s off the table when you have a disappointing year like this,” Forman said in April.
Jimmy Butler trade: Celtics still keen…
The Boston Celtics reportedly made a push for Butler before February’s trade deadline. According to the Boston Herald, GM Danny Ainge was shot down despite offering two 2016 first round picks (which fell to No. 3 and No. 16 in the draft lottery) and a few reserve players.
Bulls weren’t willing to further the talks until Celtics included Jae Crowder in the package. It’s unlikely that their stance has changed. But if Celtics and Bulls are willing to work out a deal, it would be in the best interest of both teams to pull the trigger before July.
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Last month, Chicago Tribune revealed that Butler’s five-year max deal worth $92.3 million has a five percent trade kicker. “The norm for similarly lucrative contracts for high-profile players is 15 percent, which is one reason considerable chatter remains throughout the league that teams could make a run at Butler near the June 23 NBA draft,” wrote KC Johnson.
Could lose signing bonus…
If Butler isn’t traded by July, he would be entitled to a $2.6 million signing bonus spread across three remaining seasons on his contract. As Basketball Insiders has accurately pointed out, “with most franchises flush with spending power in July, with the salary cap jumping from $70 million to a projected $92 million, teams may find it difficult to creatively limit a players’ potential trade bonus.”
Smart money says that Chicago Bulls hold onto Jimmy Butler. But if Boston Celtics offer the rumored package of Avery Bradley, Jonas Jerebko, Terry Rozier, No. 3 pick and No. 16 pick, expect the 2014-15 Most Improved Player to wear green next season.